John Lewis lifts the lid on Britain's shopping habits

Friday 10 October 2014

Department store mines a year's worth of data to reveal the tastes of the nation

  • The second annual John Lewis Retail Report reveals that people are increasingly shopping in the early hours, with online sales between the hours of midnight and 6.00am up 31 per cent over the past year (pg 9).
  • On average, over 50 per cent of web traffic to now comes from smartphones and tablets (pg 7).
  • 2014 saw shoppers invest in their sleep: sales of bedroom furniture are growing more quickly than other areas of the furniture category (pg 12–13).
  • It was also the year of the 'menaissance:' the re-appearance of the sharply dressed man (pg 13).
  • Events that shaped what we bought included Gogglebox which boosted sales of laptrays by 18 per cent and Prince George's appearances on the Royal Tour which prompted sales of baby sailor suits to rise by 18 per cent (pg 4).

The second annual John Lewis Retail Report launches today, exploring a year's worth of shopping data to reveal why and what we bought, and how we bought it in the last twelve months.

Never before have shoppers been so comfortable with browsing and buying on their tablets and smartphones. On average, over 50 per cent of web traffic to now comes from mobile devices.

The rise of mobile shopping has seen more people making purchases in the early hours, with online sales between the hours of midnight and 6.00am up 31 per cent over the past year. What people buy at night makes for fascinating reading. At 2.00am men log on to buy formalwear, perhaps indulging in post-party purchasing.  Around 4.00am, the nation's parents seek some respite from their early awakenings to shop for nursery items for their little angels, while between 5.00 and 7.00am women's shoes and handbags see a boost as Britain's females dream of new additions to their wardrobe.

While mobile has become increasingly important, the ability to mix and match purchase channels and delivery options is now the norm. Saying this, around 70 per cent of all sales still take place in shops.

As well as exploring the nation's shopping habits, the John Lewis Retail Report provides rich data on the nation's zeitgeist. For instance, this was the year that customers invested in their sleep. Duvets and pillows increased 20 per cent and 18 per cent respectively and even traditional alarm clocks were up 17 per cent against the same period last year.

In 2014 we weren't just pre-occupied with sleep, our obsession with culinary achievement also continued. Inspired by the likes of Masterchef, Britain's aspiring chefs took on the challenges of making pasta and filleting fish. Sales of ravioli kits, Pasta Night In, shot up by 315 per cent, fishbone tweezers by 37 per cent and fish filleting knives by 16 per cent.

This was the year of the 'menaissance:' the re-appearance of the sharply dressed man. Men got bolder with their fashion choices: orange shirts were up 361 per cent and pink socks up 75 per cent. Women were equally as adventurous, embracing the trend for clashing floral prints. Floral patterned trousers and flower motif tops were best-sellers.

The report maps key events from the past year to show how they influenced sales. Last year's surprise TV hit, Gogglebox, prompted sales of laptrays to rise by 18 per cent in February; Prince George prompted a trend in nautical children's fashion on the Royal Tour Down Under in April, and the playground craze for Loom Bands peaked in May.

Andy Street, Managing Director of John Lewis, comments: 'It seems fitting that in our 150th year as a retailer we are reflecting on the nation's shopping habits. Since our first shop opened in 1864, John Lewis has a barometer for changing trends and tastes.'

'This year's report is even more insightful than last year's, with richer data, including new sections, such as how the nation shops for its children. We hope that in years to come people will turn to our report for a nostalgic glimpse of the trends that shaped the nation's shopping habits.'

The John Lewis Retail Report is created every year and is based on real data, which comes from the many thousands of customer transactions which take place every day on its website and in its shops.

The report is available on the website (


For further information please contact:

Amy Watt
Telephone: 020 7592 1200

Laura Askew
Online Communications Manager, Flagship, John Lewis
Telephone: 0207 798 3396

Vikki Speed
Senior Communications Officer, Corporate & Brand, John Lewis
Telephone:0207 931 4921